Ombudsman indicts Bohol lawmaker on pork raps | Inquirer News

Ombudsman indicts Bohol lawmaker on pork raps

/ 12:35 AM July 13, 2016
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales has pressed malversation and graft charges against former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and former Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.

In a news release, the antigraft agency announced the indictment of Yap (a reelected representative of Bohol province), Antonino, four officials of National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) and two others on two counts each of malversation and violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

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Morales said she found probable cause to charge the eight people with conspiring with each other to funnel P14.5 million of Antonino’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations to a bogus livelihood training project in his district in 2007.

The Supreme Court declared the PDAF unconstitutional in November 2013 amid allegations the congressional pork barrel allocations went to ghost projects and kickbacks.

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The Ombudsman emphasized that under the defunct congressional PDAF system, it was always the legislator who exercised “actual control and custody of the PDAF share allocated to him.”

The evidence, Morales said, “established that respondent public officers conspired with private respondents in this disreputable scheme to defraud government coffers” by preparing fictitious reports and other liquidation documents that would make it appear that the PDAF-funded project was implemented.

Also charged were Nabcor’s Alan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Encarnita Cristina Munsod and Maria Ninez Guañizo, and Marilou Antonio, a representative of Buhay Mo Mahal Ko Foundation Inc. (BMMKFI), as well as Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Publishing House.

Records showed that, in a January 2007 letter, Antonino requested and directly endorsed Nabcor and BMMKFI to the Department of Agriculture for the implementation of his project providing livelihood training kits to his constituency, the Office of the Ombudsman said.

On March 22, 2007, BMMKFI, through Antonino, exclusively procured from C.C. Barredo a total of 7,275 training kits worth P2,000 each, amounting to P14.55 million.

The next day, the supplier allegedly delivered the kits from an office on Roxas Boulevard to Antonino, who accepted and acknowledged receiving them, according to the Ombudsman.

Ghost projects

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Upon field verification, however, “it was found that these were ghost projects as several local officials of Nueva Ecija denied ever receiving any of the [kits], the agency said.

Neither was the project supported by any project proposal, physical and audited financial reports, monitoring reports or due diligence conducted in the supplier and NGO-selection process, it added.  DJ Yap

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TAGS: Arthur Yap, Bohol, Nation, News, Ombudsman, Rodolfo Antonino
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